Dining is a highlight of Vanuatu. Fresh local fish, beef, fruit and vegetables are in plentiful supply and Vanuatu is famous for its coconut crabs. Restaurants offer Melanesian, French, Polynesian, Indian, Chinese, Thai-Vietnamese, English and Japanese dishes at very reasonable prices. Restaurants are also notable for their cleanliness.
Like other South Pacific nations, Vanuatu’s icon meals are prepared in an earth oven, heated by extremely hot rocks. But the meals themselves differ from their neighbours. An example is laplap, which is made from grated root crop, topped with fresh coconut milk, island cabbage and meat or fish, wrapped in banana leaves and baked in the earth oven, uma.
Visitors wanting to experience kava, the traditional south Pacific drink made from the roots of a pepper bush, can buy it by the bowl full at a kava house, nakamal. But be careful to watch how others drink before trying it.
Visitors can find a wide selection of authentic handicrafts from many islands of Vanuatu at the Handicraft Blong Vanuatu and Art Blong Yumi and Goodies in Port Vila. Shopping for local brightly coloured material, dresses and shirts can also be fun. There are also some duty-free shops in Port Vila.
Shops are generally open weekdays and Saturday morning. While many shops close from 11.30am to 1.30pm for lunch, eating places, banks, supermarkets and the Post Office remain open. Some specialty shops and supermarkets also open on Sunday morning.
Foreign cash, travellers cheques and major international credit cards are widely accepted, though bankcard is not normally accepted.
All major hotels have regular entertainment that includes cultural shows. Club Vanuatu and Club 21 also have poker machines and entertainment.
The Club Meridien has a casino.
In the evenings, men drink kava at local kava bars or akamals. Alcohol is available at hotels and in local bars in urban areas.
Sports & Activities
Ni-Vanuatu love soccer, and golf, tennis, squash and aerobics are becoming popular. Triathlon events are held throughout the year, culminating in some international competitions.
There is a great variety of watersports, including reef and wreck diving and big game fishing. There are four golf courses to choose from in Port Vila, as well as tennis courts, fitness centres, jazzercize and squash. There is also Hash House Harriers, horse riding schools and cycling. The annual triathlon is a big event attracting international competitors. The annual picnic horse race day is a feature of the calendar. The Amateur Theatrical Society stages regular productions as well.
* Melanesian feast nights
* Diving on reefs and wrecks
* Snorkelling and swimming
* Fishing and shell collecting
* Sea-kayaking and yachting
* Day and night cruising
* Village tours
* Trekking and nature walks
* Exploring volcanoes
* Bird watching
* Sky diving
* Helicopter scenic flights
* Bus tours
* Horse riding
* Golf, tennis and squash
Vanuatu now has a Hyperbaric Recompression Chamber, it is situated at the Santo Northern Districts Hospital. There have been a number of people involved in the setting up and training of staff for the recompression chamber. There are six inside attendants, three of which are in Vanuatu. Having a recompression chamber in Vanuatu is a huge step forward in the safety and promotion of Vanuatu as an international diving destination. Already the chamber has successfully treated a few divers.